KOTA KINABALU: The Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS); with National Institute of Technology, Fukushima College, Japan; Adamson University, Philippines; and Jose Rizal University, Philippines, recently organised the Sustainability Seminar 2021.
With the theme of “Reshaping Tourism for Better Future,” the online seminar objective is to provide academic discourse on sustainability issues in this region that resonates with global concerns.
This year’s seminar focused on reshaping the tourism industry most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
While the vaccination program is a positive step, the slow recovery of the tourism industry is expected to take at least another year.
Destinations that rely heavily on international, business, and events tourism, such as Kota Kinabalu and Manila, are particularly struggling.
Many countries are now developing plans to build a more resilient tourism industry following the COVID-19.
This year, the seminar was attended by more than 200 participants from five countries such as Malaysia, China, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They represent ten institutions of higher learning and organizations.
The seminar also features one keynote speaker and seven invited speakers discussing their research on how tourism could sustainably recover from the pandemic based on their country’s perspectives.
The Head of Tourism Management Program and Chairman of the Seminar Associate Professor Dr. Awangku Hassanal Bahar Pengiran Bagul explained that the global health crisis due to COVID-19 is an opportunity to redevelop tourism in every destination.
“For example, ‘over-tourism has been a concern in most destinations before COVID-19.
“Now is the time for the destination to be reshaped and adjust tourism policies and management.
“It includes promoting greater economic diversification, more innovative products including planning activities in rural areas,” he said.
He said, now around the world, people are beginning to be attracted to domestic tourism, thus offering greater benefits to the country.
The seminar was officiated by the President of the National Institute of Technology of Fukushima College of Japan, Osamu Yamashita.
In his speech, he said the tourism industry needed immediate action to begin the recovery process to be involved millions of workers and entrepreneurs.
“It is quite worrying when developing countries, which are fully dependent on the tourism sector, especially the international sector, are severely affected by this pandemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, the closing ceremony of the seminar was officiated by the Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy, UMS Prof. Datuk Dr. Kasim Md Mansur.